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Free day out to promote the use of climate friendly woodfuel

27th May 2009

Encouraging people and businesses to live in a greener way is the message being promoted at a free training event in the Cairngorms National Park today (Wednesday 27 May).

The Woodfuel Fair at Alvie Estate – demonstrating how woodfuel can be used as a renewable, environmentally-friendly alternative to fossil fuels – was opened by local MP Danny Alexander this morning. He said: “Woodfuel offers huge economic opportunities for the Cairngorms National Park and offers the potential to generate jobs locally as well as wield real cost savings for businesses and households. However, most importantly it will offer huge environmental benefits. This is a local renewable energy source and it is fantastic that this event is taking place to inform and train people in the National Park about it.”

Today’s Woodfuel Fair – which is the first step in the creation of a Woodfuel Action Plan for the National Park – is designed to show people, whether they are householders or in business, how they can use the resources on their doorstep and help to reduce climate change, as well as making themselves less vulnerable to any future changes in the global supply of fossil fuels in the process.

Speaking at the event, the CNPA Convener, David Green said: “Switching to renewable sources of energy has benefits on so many levels from the main objective – tackling climate change, which is a linchpin of the National Park Plan – to bringing about benefits for the local economy with increased forestry activity and employment in this sector. Promoting the sustainable use of the Park’s natural resources is one of the aims of the National Park so using woodfuel to replace fossil fuels adds value to this resource.”

Alvie Estate was chosen as the venue for today’s event because Alvie House is already heated using woodfuel and the Estate runs its own onsite supply business. Giving visitors a first hand look at the operation, Estate owner, Jamie Williamson said: “Using locally sourced wood for heating has reduced our heating costs, given us greater control of our energy requirements and made the estate more self sufficient. It has also diversified our income and provided another market for our timber.”

Bob Dunsmore from Forestry Commission Scotland added: “Scotland’s forests are making a sustainable contribution to our economy and at the same time helping the Scottish Government reach its renewable energy targets. The business community and public organisations are starting to look more closely at using woodfuel as a viable alternative for their energy needs and we need to keep this momentum going. This event in the Cairngorms National Park brings together a number of partners who can help answer questions and demonstrate the benefits of using woodfuel.”

Today’s Woodfuel Fair is one of a series of training activities to be provided by the Clim-ATIC project – which receives funding from the EU’s Northern Periphery Programme – within Cairngorms National Park over the next two years. The initiative involves the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), Perth College – Centre for Mountain Studies, Forestry Commission Scotland, Highland Birchwoods, local authorities and industry representatives.